Marriage means your life entwines with another person for a period of time. This could be through your property, debt, assets, or your children. This usually means that, when this relationship is coming to an end, you must make certain agreements about how to split ownership, share responsibilities, and essentially part ways amicably.
This is where divorce settlement agreements come in. If you and your spouse have mutually agreed to separate ways, an easier way to go about beginning your new lives is certainly to enter into a divorce settlement agreement.
A divorce settlement agreement is a legally binding contract between divorcing spouses, detailing their rights, obligations, and responsibilities after their divorce. The agreement will put into writing everything that you have agreed upon and is enforceable in court.
A divorce settlement agreement has many different names. From separation agreements to marital termination contracts or marital settlement agreements, what you refer to as a divorce settlement agreement varies from state to state.
The main purpose of a divorce settlement agreement is that it clearly outlines what has been agreed on to the benefit of you and your (soon-to-be) ex-spouse. Some of the benefits of this are:
No. You can enter into a settlement agreement before or after you separate with your spouse or file for a divorce. However, it is advisable that you enter into a settlement as early as is agreeable between the two of you, especially if your separation is mutual. You want to avoid the chaos court proceedings or mediation can come with, or you would like to save on attorney fees.
As with every other contract, it is advisable that you hire a lawyer to prepare your divorce settlement agreement and give you legal advice. If your spouse has already engaged the services of an attorney to draft an agreement for you to sign, you should certainly hire your own attorney to review it.
Your attorney will make sure to include important legal provisions, and everyone adheres to them. They will ultimately ensure the agreement protects your rights. The agreement will dictate some of your life from the time you enter it and your attorney will make sure that you understand what you are getting into before you sign any document.
Hiring an attorney should be done sooner rather than later; you can find experienced divorce attorneys in your state.
It is always a relief when you and your spouse can agree on the important decisions you need to make after the breakdown of your marriage. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on important decisions, you should then hire an attorney or mediator to create an agreement for you to sign.
Generally, state laws vary on whether to submit the agreement to a judge to ensure that the terms you have come to are fair. The agreement is then binding, and after your divorce decree, the court can hold either spouse in contempt of court if one of you violates the agreement.
The point of the agreement is that they are terms of your divorce that you and your ex-spouse are generally comfortable with. If you don’t like what is proposed and your spouse is willing to negotiate, you should counter the proposal with terms that are more agreeable to you. It is not advisable that you sign or accept anything you’re uncomfortable with, and you should get your attorney to review the draft proposal as soon as it is made available to you.
State laws relating to divorce vary, and even if you and your spouse agree on everything you need to decide, it is important that you get a divorce attorney to make sure that the agreement is in accordance with the laws of the state that apply to your divorce.
What is included in a divorce settlement is highly dependent on you and your spouse and your marriage. For example, if you have no property between the two of you there will be no need to have a property settlement agreement divorce to deal with property division. Here are five important things you may consider deciding on to be in the agreement:
The following steps will help you to draft a divorce settlement agreement properly:
Your spouse may be unwilling to negotiate, and it is important that you are both in agreement that the best way to approach your separation or divorce is to enter into a divorce/separation agreement. You can decide to hire a law firm to aid with the negotiations, or agree on the terms and get a lawyer to help you draft the contract with the previously agreed terms.
What is in a settlement agreement for divorce depends on what is important to you. You should bring up these areas of contention with your spouse and try to compromise and come to decisions that are suitable and fair for both of you.
If you are unclear on where to start or whether or not you have covered all the terms essential to you both in your contract you can download this FREE divorce settlement agreement example to give you a better understanding.
What is necessary for your agreement depends on you; you can use the agreement as is and fill in what applies to your situation.
To get started, here’s a free PDF file of a settlement agreement divorce template to give you a thorough idea of what these agreements can entail.
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Frequently Asked Questions
There are two types of child custody, physical and legal. Physical custody means that you as a parent have the right for your child to live with you at your residence. If you and your divorcing spouse agree on joint physical custody that means you have decided that your child will live with both of you for periods of time as you see fit. Legal child custody involves important decision-making regarding the child’s life.
One of the most common and amicable ways to get through a divorce where you and your spouse are not in agreement on certain important issues is mediation. You hire a third party as a mediator to use their expertise to provide advice and suggestions on how you may wish to go about certain decisions. The mediator cannot make decisions for you but simply guides you through the process.
If your ex-spouse doesn’t contest the divorce, you may not have to go to court. You will have to file the divorce papers, which you can do through your attorney, but the judgment will be sent to you. It will become necessary to go to court if your spouse contests the divorce and you cannot reach an agreement through your lawyers or mediation.